Golconda, A Famous Fort
By James E. McEldowney
Living in Tents Stories - Table of Contents On the Border Of Tibet


An ancient cannon in an old
fort in India
A long time ago when princes called Rajahs or Nizams lived in India there was a famous fort named Golconda. Now Golconda was not just an ordinary fort. It had stone walls so high and broad, soldiers with bows and arrows could stand on top to guard against even the strongest enemy. If ever an enemy came they would drive them off with their arrows and later with their guns.
The fort is still there but warfare has changed. The walls have been broken down in places but you can visit it and see how magnificent it must have been. When my friend Kenneth came from America he said, "Come, take me to the old fort. I want to see the place where they found the Hope Diamond." The Hope Diamond is one of the very largest diamonds ever found. It is now part of the crown of the King of England. It was found in the diamond bazaar inside the old fort.

I always liked to take visitors there. Every time I went I saw something different. So I said, "Come along, if you are ready for a long walk and a stiff climb." He said he was, so we went.

Now Golconda is big. It is spread out as big as some cities. The outside wall is about 10 miles long. That took a lot of rock for such a long and high wall. Inside that wall are rice fields, because during a long attack the people inside had to have food. Then there are other walls, so that if the enemy was able to break down the outer wall, the soldiers inside the second wll would try to keep the enemy out.

We left our car outside the first wall and walked up to the second wall. It was nearly a half mile walk. That wall was a bit higher and it, too was long, for it went around a good sized hill. The gate was even bigger and stronger. The gate itself was made of thick wood into which long iron spikes had been driven. The spikes were sharp on the end to make it impossible for an elephant to push the gate open. If an elephant tried, the iron spikes would go right into its face and hurt it.

[++Page 28]

The gate had two giant doors that opened in the cneter. In the door on one side there was a small door called the eye of a needle. Only one person could go through it at a time. We went through the needle's eye. Kenneth asked, "Where is the diamond bazaar where they found the Hope Diamond?" "It is in the little town around the shoulder of the hill," I answered. So we walked on and we came to a town. About 5000 people lived in little huts close together. The diamond bazaar was in their market place. The streets were narrow and they were crowded with people carrying all kinds of things. We found the diamond shops. They had plenty of diamonds but we did not buy any. Very soon I said to Kenneth, "Now that we have seen the dimond bazaar, w had better start up the hill toward the palace."

As we started Kenneth asked, "Why is this path so wide and made to look like giant steps?" "It was especially made for the elephants of the prince," I answered. Sometimes on festival days the elephants would be decorated in gold and silver cloth and the high government officials would ride up to the palace."

We began our climb. Up and up we went. There were buildings, partly broken down, along the way. Before we reached the third wall I said, "While we catch our breath, why don't we go over toward that wall and see if we can find any interesting things that might be lying there." We soon reached an open field near the third wall. "See if you can find anything in the grass," I told Kenneth. Sure enough Kenneth picked up what proved to be broken arrows. Then, much to my surprise, I found part of a very old gun. That was a real prize. I picked it up and Kenneth put it in the nap sack on his back.

The third wall was built on a steep slope. It looked higher than the others. On the steep hill it would be difficult for anyone to climb over it. We walked along the wall back to the main path and come to the gate. It was very much like the gate in the second wall.

We had come almost to the fourth wall when I said, "Come, I want to show you something." There a little distance from the path was a building with the front of it fallen in. "One day," I said, "some Indian pilgrims came to see the fort. They had gotten this far when they were caught in the rain. They hurried to this shelter in it and while it rained they sat on the ground, for the building had no floor. They began to smoke their Indian pipe. One of them had just lit his pipe when he threw the match down on the ground. All at once the ground blew up. Years before soldiers had stored gunpowder in that building and there was still some on the ground. The explosion not only killed the people but it blew the whole front and much of the roof off."

We didn't stay there any longer than we had to. Before long [++Page 29] we came to the fourth gate. We went through it and finally arrived at the fifth wall. That wall was actually part of the palace. It did not seem as high or wide as the other walls. Inside the palace grounds there were a few trees growing so we sat in the shade. Then we climbed to the top of that wall and from there we could see the whole fort and miles beyond it. While we sat there Kenneth said, " Just imagine what it must have been like for the people in the palace to watch an enemy come to attack the fort." That was long ago.

At last Kenneth said, "I surely thank you for bringing me out here. I will be able to tell my children about the wonders of this old fort." After we had rested a while we went down and back to my home.

Kenneth wasn't the last person I took to Golconda. It was an historic part of India and I was happy to show it to visitors. Perhaps if you go to Hyderabad, India, you will be able to see Fort Golconda. I'm sure you will find it amazing. It will give you much to think about. [by James E. McEldowney, August1997]

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